Today is International Women’s Day, a celebration of women’s achievements and an occasion to reflect upon the push for gender equity. In some countries it’s a national holiday, and while it’s not here, the day is still marked by proclamations from national leaders, nationwide events and even a cool Google doodle.
With most major media outlets covering International Women’s Day, one might think that Republicans in Congress might at least temporarily ease up on their recent anti-woman agenda, which has centered around an embarrassing debate about contraception. There are already reports that Republican leaders are “anxious to change the subject” and ready to “slow down” the contraception debate.
Republicans on one House Judiciary subcommittee, however, aren’t dissuaded. Today they are holding a hearing on the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, which would make it a crime for anyone other than a parent to accompany a young woman across state lines for abortion care.
Anti-choice groups have already been very successful in limiting abortion clinics to select geographic areas, and this bill would make it harder for young women to access the services that do exist. NARAL Pro-Choice America is strongly opposed to the bill:
“We believe that loving parents should be involved when their daughter faces an unintended pregnancy and thankfully, most do. But in some tragic circumstances, young women cannot involve their parents because they come from homes where physical and emotional abuse are present or their pregnancies are the result of incest,” [Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America] said. “Under this bill, a grandmother could be prosecuted for accompanying her granddaughter to a doctor in another state—even if that doctor is closest to the young woman’s home. Ministers helping a young woman in their congregation would face similar threats. This bill is not a solution; it is a callous example of government intrusion into tragic family circumstances.”
This bill, or some version of it, has been introduced in each Congress for the past fifteen years. The American Medical Association and many other major health care groups oppose the measure, because they view it as a roadblock to confidential access to physicians. House Republicans have picked a pretty bad day to make the push again.